Thursday, September 06, 2012

Evolution and Stupidity

The concept of “evolution”, that species adapt to changes in order to survive requires that changes occur slowly over a very long time. The more simplistic an organism is the more quickly it can adapt to changes. The more complex an organism is the longer the time it will take to adapt.

Sharks do not adapt. Apparently they are the perfect species remaining essentially unchanged for millions of years.

Personally, I find that unlikely, however, it does create the potential for an interesting concept.

If we assume that biological or physical change, what we call evolution, is driven by a need to adapt to changing conditions then we can assume that the minimal changes which Sharks have undergone are a response to minimal changes in the conditions to which sharks respond to.

Sharks have not changed because the environment in which they live has not changed.

If this is true we can also assume that the physical adaptability of humans to their environment would also minimize the potential for biological change or “evolution”.

Personally I think the term “evolution” is kind of dumb. The term implies the subjective ideology of “improvement” to a species. If biological evolution of humans is an accurate theory then it is possible for a species to change in a way I would subjectively consider negative, or “devolve”. But, whatever.

Biological and physical anthropology make the assumption that primates evolved along varying paths in response to changes.

I wonder. Lets speculate. Thousands of years ago in a region where primates lived it became cold. Some primates ran, migrating to escape the cold. Some killed animals or other primates and wore their skins to stay warm improving their chances for survival as they migrated. Possible? Sure. An improvement? That would be a subjective interpretation of the possibilities.

In engineering we only do one thing. Solve problems. People buy solutions. No problem, no solution, no product, no sales.

Boredom is a problem. Entertainment is a solution.

Freezing is a problem. Clothing, fire and shelter are solutions.

A typical deer is more than a match for an unarmed primate. Larger animals with heavier, warmer skins require team work to hunt. Team work requires communications skills.

Did cold weather challenge some primates in a different way? Did some primates just keep migrating away from cold while others developed the skills to hunt, build fires and communicate so they could live in colder climates?

Gorillas typically do not build huts even though they seek shelter. Obviously by seeking shelter from the rain they indicate that they perceive rain as a problem and shelter as a solution. Gorillas have apparently decided that the available shelter is an adequate solution to their problem.

Different members of the same species have a different attitude toward the same or similar problems.

In fact, as societies we defer to people or groups who have very rigid demands. Alpha males typically either beat or charm those about them into submission and deference. As societies we then defer to the Alpha or leaders attitude toward a problem. How does that attitude toward a problem encourage biological or physical change? Do people become more “charismatic”? Do people become more likely to be followers instead of innovators?

Is there any evidence at all that people have become more or less aggressive in the last few thousand years? Is there any evidence that modern humans are “more evolved” than say, ancient Egyptians?

I don't believe so. Why not? Did humans become so physically adaptable that “evolutionary” change became minimal? Why didn't we stop at Neanderthal? Why didn't we stop at Cro-Magnon?

What problems could there have been that encouraged biological or physical solutions in primates?

For me there are way too many unanswered questions. I am a Christian and I can adopt a faith based position. As a scientist it is much more difficult for me to jump on a band wagon. Sure, “evolution” or biological adaptation to a change in conditions sounds reasonable. BUT what conditions cause a primate to become driven to kill for selfish, even narcissistic, reasons? What conditions cause a primate to become unsatisfied with sitting under a tree to get out of the rain?

More likely the drive to kill and seek alternate shelter was driven by a “devolution”, an inability to survive. Gorillas might seek alternate shelter if they believed they would die otherwise. A gorilla like primate may kill a deer, not from hunger, because it desires the skin of the deer as protection from the elements. A group of gorilla like primates may develop rudimentary communications skills so they can hunt and kill larger animals.

Did humans “evolve” because they were weaker than other other primates? Because they devolved from a previously successful primate that existed easily without seeking complex shelters or killing?

This is counter intuitive to Darwin's “the strong survive” ideology. Strength is a subjective term, and opinion. It requires a comparative analysis or a unit of measurement to be objective.

In my opinion then the concept of evolution is subjective, not objective.

I look at a picture of a gorilla sitting under a tree in the rain and I look at a picture of people building a sky scrapper and I ask myself, “have we “evolved” or did the gorilla “evolve?” Which species takes advantage of harmony with its environment?

Which species has adapted successfully?  Which is stronger?

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